Archive | May, 2011

Yes, I have braids in my hair. No, I don’t yodel.

27 May

If you haven’t heard by now that braids are really hot this spring/summer you may just be living under a rock. No matter where you turn, or what magazine you flip through, countless styles of braids are being sported by celebrities, models, fashionistas and hipsters alike.

Some are of the opinion that braids should be reserved for school girls and milkmaids only – they have no place in a mature, stylish woman’s life. I whole heartedly disagree. Sure, if overdone, braids can look childish or like you should be off yodeling in the alps, but if done right, they can add that playful yet sophisticated touch to a summery ‘do!

“This is a must-do trend for simple, summer styling,” says Associate Stylist Sandra. “And the messier the better… There is no wrong way to braid!”

Here are some of my favourite braids that you can try this summer, be it an updo for a special occasion or just a day in the sun. I think any doubters will be silenced.

What do you think of the summer braid trend? Is it something you would or have already tried?

Crusaders in the life-long quest to de-frizz…

26 May

Taming frizzy, unruly, poofy hair is a life-long quest for many women, especially in damp and humid climates. Just ask female Torontonians in the middle of July.

Straighteners and relaxers are not new to the beauty industry, but in the past they have been very intense and full of chemicals. Although the results from last year’s breakthrough Keratin treatment, The Brazilian Blowout, were amazing, the product was later pulled from Canadian and European markets due to unacceptable levels of formaldehyde compromising the health of consumers and stylists applying the treatment over a long period of time.

Four months later, there is now a formaldehyde-free Keratin formula promising to grant the wishes of the frizzy haired. Dióra Professionnel has introduced their Keratherapy line of treatments and products as a safe alternative to traditional keratin treatments. Keratherapy is free of formaldehyde, urea, aldehydes and other harsh chemicals and is in compliance with The European Union, Canadian and other international health and safety regulations worldwide.

It boasts a formula that is derived from a blend of orange peel oil and Natural Certified Organic ingredients including: jojoba oil; aloe vera; green tea; and pomegranate and marigold extracts. The products also use Moroccan argan oil, pure keratin, collagen, amino acids and proteins to rebuild, and add strength and elasticity to the hair.

Although Dióra calls this “the evolution of brazilian keratin,” the Keratherapy available in Canada is not a straightening treatment like the Brazilian Blowout. Its results can’t be compared to the old Keratin treatments that contained formaldehyde, or even the Intense Renewal Keratherapy treatment that is only available in the States; it will not eliminate curls or waves in the hair. It will, however, smooth, tame and de-frizz unruly hair for up to 12 weeks and the treatment reduces drying time in half. It can be used on coloured or highlighted hair and it, in fact, helps to lock in the colour and extend the vibrancy of blonde or “high fashion” shades.

At Haartek, the whole procedure takes about two hours and you can’t wash or put any product in your hair for 48 hours. Dióra offers a Keratin Infused Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner that is free of sulfates, parabens, sodium chloride, propylene glycol, DEA and TEA, but any shampoo or conditioner that is sulfate free, like Kevin Murphy or Eufora, is safe to use after the treatment.

If you’re interested in getting any kind of straightening or de-frizzing treatment done, it’s best to consult with your stylist to see which is the right one for you.

But to all my fellow frizzy-haired friends, at least we know there are options out there that can help solve our dilemma, even just temporarily… ‘cos shaving my hair off is just not an option – my head is far too big.

From prostitutes to Norse gods, will the real blondies please stand up?

18 May

Do blondes really have more fun?

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stereotypes about blondes over the years: blondes are dumb, overly sexy, promiscuous, innocent and more fun-loving. And it’s not a secret that blonde is one of the most popular colours to switch to, be it your whole head or just highlights.

But where do these stereotypes come from? As a natural blonde, I want to know!

Even just a quick search of Wikipedia gives us a little history of how blondes have been perceived in the past. Early on in the Roman Empire, blonde hair was associated with prostitutes (guess we know where that rumour started), but later became more socially desirable to the point that famous historical Romans have been described as blondes in literary records.  Many Roman gods, including Apollo, Bacchus, Diana, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Minerva and Venus were supposedly blonde as well. (Wait.. isn’t Minerva the goddess of wisdom? Why didn’t that catch on?)

By the Middle Ages, the promiscuous stereotype was back and blondes were associated with seductresses. For example, until the late 14th century, Eve was portrayed as a blonde and the Virgin Mary a brunette.

However, in Northern European folklore and fairy tales, including Norse Mythology, blondes were only attributed to good personalities. Important gods are considered to be blonde, heroes and heroines were often blonde and flaxen-haired humans portrayed in literature were seen as valuable and desirable.

And going along with the mythical – not to mention good – theme, fairies and elves are often portrayed as blonde.

These days google image the word blonde and the stereotypes range from the sweet, girl-next- door (Reese Witherspoon) to big boobed porn star!  And then there’s Paris Hilton.

So historically, the characteristics and opinions of blondes have gone from one extreme to the other and back again. As with everything in society, it seems as though the perception of blondes corresponds with how the most famous/notorious/written-about/visible/hated/loved/etc. blondes are perceived. I don’t think there will ever be definitive proof of characteristics attributed to certain hair colours, but I don’t ever think the blonde stereotypes will die out either.

What do I think about this as a blonde? Please don’t call me dumb – it’s not true. But if you want to think that I have more fun, go right ahead… maybe I do!

Perms: ‘Granny Fabulous’ or just plain fabulous?

13 May

 Perms have come a long way since your granny’s days.

Gone are the days when perms were just tight curls for short hair on old ladies. No offence, Grandma, but it’s just not very modern.

The good news is that there are now modern options for perming your hair. In the past, perms were associated with lots of ammonia, a rotten egg-like scent and a rigid curl without much bounce. The chemicals used were much stronger and caused more damage to the hair. These days, thankfully, perms are less damaging and aggressive. Although they aren’t as long-lasting, they give great bounce in fine, thin and even coloured hair. Perms come in different strengths depending on your hair type and condition, so just because you have dry, coloured hair, doesn’t mean you have to rule out a perm.

“Eufora has one of the mildest and friendliest perms that has come out in the last 15 years,” says co-owner, Remo. “It keeps the integrity of the hair a lot better.”

And the rods used to set the perm are much smoother than in the past, keeping the hair smoother when it’s wound and not too tight. This all translates into a smooth, natural, bouncy curl or wave.

Now, improving the actual formula and tools are well and good and all, but that doesn’t matter much if it would still leave you looking like Edith Bunker. But here’s the good news. A perm can give your hair texture ranging from the loosest, beachy wave to the tightest afro – it all just depends on the size of roller used to set it. So you don’t have to have a granny perm. Leave that to the grannies. They rock it better anyway.

“If you want that beachy wave that’s very in right now, a very loose, textural perm to add movement and style to flat hair is the way to go,” says Sandra, an Associate Stylist. “Perms aren’t just a thing of the past. Even celebrities get them.”

And even more good news? Perms are pretty low maintenance. Aside from having to wait 48 hours before you wash your hair after getting the perm, you just need to put in a nice curling cream or balm and diffuse it with a dryer for your desired look. And even more good news? In the olden days perms got frizzier as time passed, but now they just fade out. You can expect your perm to last between four to six months, depending on the tightness of the curl.

One of our assistants, Johnna, recently got a loose wave perm and she couldn’t be happier. “I love it. It gives me a lot more volume because my hair was very straight and flat before,” she says. “It’s also given me more options because I can still wear it straight if I blow dry it, but it will also hold a bigger curl better than it did before if I use an iron.”

So there you go – the facts about modern perms. I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced. Bring on the sexy, beachy waves for Spring!

It’s not a mullet… It’s a moulett.

12 May

Oh, the mullet.

What glorious being came up with such a phenomenon? It has given us laughs, tears, sneers and Halloween costumes over the years… And I don’t think the style will ever disappear – although, many stylists would like to see it banished to the deepest, darkest places on Earth.

But love them or hate them, mullets are one of those things that no matter how hideous, you just can’t look away. It has to be one of the most talked about hairstyles over the years, and no matter how many people badmouth them, there will always be that guy (or girl… But mostly guy) who will one day declare his hair to be “business up front and a party in the back” in an attempt to “bring the mullet back” – cue the snickering from friends.

So since I have concluded that the marvel of the mullet will never leave, we should celebrate it (but never – EVER – get one ourselves). Here’s a few of our favourite flavours of mullets that we could never possibly erase from our memories, no matter how hard we try. (Due to the sheer volume of mullets out there, it was impossible to include ALL the classics. But here’s a taste…)

The redneck

The pretty boy

The She-Mullet

The Billy Ray

The Agassi

The Rock Star

The Modern

As you can see, the mullet is a complicated and confusing beast. You never quite know what a person who chooses to go the mullet-route was really thinking, but you have to give them credit for going for it.  Having said this, one last word on the cut that just keeps on giving:

Friends don’t let friends get mullets.

Just saying.

Attached to your hair? Be good to it!

7 May

So now that you’ve thought about what you put your hair through (most of us, anyway), let’s talk about trying to fix the damage that has been caused.

If you blowdry, flatiron, curl or colour your hair, chances are that it’s coming out of the winter months a little dry, brittle or fried. And I think we can all agree that hair in that state is not very cooperative or great.

But rather than abusing it some more just hoping that the summer will fix the problem, why not try a treatment?

There are several options for coaxing your hair out of its fragile state – and the good news is that there are options for at the salon AND do-it-yourself.  The two most popular in-salon treatments at Haartek are the clay pack and a fabulous cocktail of minty-tingly revitalizers to repair and seal the cuticles of the hair.

In both cases, the time the treatments stay on your head varies, though with the cocktail the longer it stays the better.

The clay pack is great for fine hair needing some extra care and craving volume. There are three different kinds: a generic one that can be used on any hair colour; one with a lilac toner for cool blonde hues; and one with a gold toner to refresh golden hues in blondes. In all cases though, this treatment adds oomph, strength and fantastic shine.

In terms of a customized treatment cocktail there are a couple of options. Stylist Yuliya’s favourite in-salon treatment is Kevin Murphy’s Born Again. “It’s great for tortured, frizzy, unruly or chemically abused hair.” Like the clay pack, it adds great shine, but can also be customized by your stylist, tailoring the cocktail to your hair needs –  more protein, conditioning or moisture can be added. These additions are only available in the salon, as something like protein in the wrong amount can be extremely damaging to your hair.

The second option is Eufora’s Urgent Repair treatment. Unlike Born Again, which may weigh down fine hair, Urgent Repair is great for everybody. And it can also be customized in the same way – plus Eufora’s Beautifying Serum can be added too.

Treatments are especially recommended for those who colour or highlight their hair. Susan, a Director at Haartek, says, “It’s very important to have a treatment after your colour services. It helps to seal in the colour and condition your hair.” This means that the colour gets locked in and lasts longer because it won’t have any open cuticles to escape from.

Leave-in conditioners are also a great way to protect your hair from all the abuse it takes, and they’ve come a long way in the last few years. Gone are the days when a leave-in cream or spray would leave your locks greasy and weigh them down. Not only do they provide excellent UV protection, but they also seal in any conditioner that you have used in the shower. Remo, co-owner of Haartek, insists that a leave-in conditioner like Goldwell’s Kerasilk Instant Silk Fluid, Kevin Murphy’s Staying.Alive, KMS’ Colourvitality Colour Protect Spray or Eufora’s Hydration Leave-In Conditioner should be the first product you use when you get out of the shower. “It should go on before any other styling product and before combing your hair to evenly distribute the conditioner and to help get through tangles.”

The nice thing about these treatments is that you can use Born Again, Urgent Repair, Beautifying Serum and the leave-in conditioners for hair maintenance at home, ensuring that you always have healthy hair. And when you come into the salon for your services and need that extra TLC, your stylist can add a customized treatment that your hair will thank you for.

Welcome to Hair Love!

4 May

Finally, the time has come to launch Haartek Salon’s blog! We hope to share fun stories, tips and pictures about our number one obsession and love: hair.

But we also want to know what you think about hair or if you want specific tips or discussions! Ask, suggest, comment – we will respond!

We hope you enjoy reading about our Hair Love, and we hope you share it too.

Yes, I sing into my brush.

4 May

Everyone who has hair on their pretty little heads (even those with only a few left) has a certain ritual that they go through with their hair. Granted, some have more lengthy rituals than others (I am certainly guilty of that), but regardless of how long it takes, that ritual still exists. Even my boyfriend who doesn’t care about his hair has one – you can’t escape it.

Some are lucky enough to have just wash- or wake-up- and go hair, while others spend hours drying, straightening or curling theirs. Some just don’t care and some care too much. But try telling someone that their ritual is wrong and there may be trouble. Even stylists can tell a client not to wash their hair and flatiron it everyday (guilty…again) until they are blue in the face, but a person’s relationship with their hair can be so personal that they can’t let go of the ritual – “How can I try something different when they don’t know my hair like I do?” You know the old joke, “I’m very attached to my hair…” Ha ha.

However, as an offender myself, I can tell you this: as much as we know our hair the best, our stylists DO have valuable tips that can make our lives easier. For example, a tip from one of our fearless leaders, Cosimo: Always style the difficult side of your hair first and work from the bottom up. Why you ask? If you do the easy side first, you may be too rushed or tired by the time you get to the difficult side and frankly, it ends up looking like crap. Also, combing your hair from the ends up is not only less painful, but causes less breakage than struggling through knots from the top down.

But hair rituals aren’t only about routine and the best way to care for your hair – it’s also about those times when you’re getting ready to go out and you have fun with your hair.

Personally, when I’m getting ready for a night on the town, I like to turn the music way up (to the chagrin of my neighbours, I presume) while I flatiron or curl my hair. I might sing along a bit. And dance too. Maybe.

So this is what I want to know: what are your special hair routines or rituals? How do you have fun while doing your hair?